(RNS) It’s mid-December and that means we’re halfway to the finish line on what can be either the happiest or the hardest time of the year, depending on your feelings about the holidays. Card companies large and small are increasingly recognizing the conflicting emotions Christmas, Hanukkah and even Kwanzaa can inspire and are crafting cards accordingly.
Last year, Religion News Service did a roundup of “anti-holiday” cards and turned up a crop of mostly lighthearted, sardonic entries.
This year feels a bit darker. Our hunt for the best anti-holiday cards turned up far more grim candidates featuring depression, greed, isolation and even attacks by wild beasts. So why does this year’s batch seem so Ho-Ho-Hopeless? Is it the negative election rhetoric, the depressing news headlines, the birth of yet another Kardashian?
S. Brent Plate, no stranger to the mix of religion and popular culture, tells us to put things in perspective. The overall message of these cards is: Lighten up!
“I think with all the pseudo-gravitas about red Starbucks cups, the Fox News-fabricated ‘war on Christmas,’ mixed with an all-too-somber ‘silent night/holy night’ that’s been fused with Christmas, people are ready to make the holidays fun again,” he said. “There is this puritanical strain in U.S. culture that turns holidays into straight-laced affairs, but religious feasts and festivals have always had revelry and diversion at their heart.”
So here is this year’s crop of anti-holiday cards. Happy Whatever. Or not. You decide — because there’s a card for that.
Party up, and don’t worry about all those holiday bills. You’ll be dead by then. Card by Zeichen Press.
Just another thing to worry about at the holidays — that someday your embarrassing family photos will be on someone else’s “funny” Christmas card. Card by Shannon Martin/Girl Designer.
Even children get into the anti-holiday spirit. Card by Zeichen Press.
“It’s a girl,” declare the occupants of this cartoon manger, raising everyone’s eyebrows but Mary’s. She alone looks contentedly down at the baby — Jesusina? Emmanuelle? — in the crib. Card by Noble Works.
This card, by Normal Human, just about sums it up. Happy WHATEVER.
Who says Jews have cornered the market on guilt? Sit! Eat! Enjoy! Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.
“Oh! The horror!” Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.
A season that seems to start with Halloween and end with Valentine’s Day. Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.
This card is talking about YOU. Happy Hanukkah! Card by Paper Epiphanies.
And don’t even think about asking for an iPad, Timmy! Card by Lady Pilot Letterpress.
Stupid fat guy! Card by Mina Lee Studio.
You’ve been warned, Minnesota! Card by Zeichen Press.
Belly up to the bar, Santa. Card by Edition Inkognito.
Just you wait ’til next year, when there will be even more angry holiday cards! Card by Zeichen Press.
(Kimberly Winston is a national correspondent for Religion News Service)